Update from the field! Seasonal Bird Conservancy banders are working in the Chihuahuan Desert this winter to tag non-breeding grassland birds for our Motus project. Read the blog to learn more about what they are doing and how it will aid in our efforts to help grasslands and the birds that call it their home.
Grassland bird populations have seen a greater decrease than any other guild of birds in North America since the 1970s. To address these steep declines, Bird Conservancy implements a Non-breeding Grassland Bird Monitoring Program in the Chihuahuan Desert where the majority of North American migratory grassland birds overwinter. We are using this survey data to establish baseline population estimates for several species of grassland birds and to track changes in populations, habitat types and conditions across years.
In this presentation, Avian Ecologist Annie Hawkinson will share background information on this program and provide an example of how data collected can benefit the conservation of the Baird’s sparrow. Annie will also share what it is like to coordinate a monitoring effort across the US and MX border.
The program fee is $3 to attend this webinar.
In order to provide equitable access to all, complimentary tickets are available at no cost to the participant thanks to support from generous donors.
After registering you will receive a confirmation email containing the ZOOM link to be used the day of the webinar.
* Registration closes at 11:59 pm on 8/18/22
Bird Conservancy of the Rockies implements wintering grassland bird monitoring throughout the Chihuahuan Desert of northern Mexico and the southern United States. The data we collecst inform Full Annual-Cycle conservation strategies of grassland bird species in decline. We train field crews in English and Spanish in order to implement consistent and high quality data collection across the international border. We highly value the expertise of our conservation partners in Mexico.and our have embraced the bilingual and multicultural component of our programs in the region.
The cultural heritage of those that tend the land and call it home—from ranchers to Indigenous Peoples to ejidos—is closely tied to the fate of grasslands. Rural communities and economies depend on healthy grasslands and the services they provide which include aquifer recharge, productive rangelands, outdoor recreation and more. Despite their importance, the plight of grasslands has been largely overlooked, but a new initiative has launched which aims to chart a better future for this precious resource.
The Chihuahuan Desert population of Northern Aplomado Falcon shrunk dramatically a century ago and was lost from the southwestern U.S. A tiny population survived in Mexico, but its continued survival is tenuous due to habitat loss and other factors. A tri-national partnership is monitoring this population’s breeding success and conducting a demographic study that includes satellite telemetry of juvenile falcons. What we are learning is guiding conservation and helping gain support from private landowners on the ground. The recent appearance of a young male falcon in New Mexico fosters hope that the Northern Aplomado Falcon might even be able to someday recolonize the Southwestern U.S.
Little is known about grassland birds during migration. Automated radio telemetry through the Motus Wildlife Tracking System can help us understand bird movement during this part of their life cycle. Bird Conservancy of the Rockies is implementing a three-phase, multiyear project to expand the Motus network into the Great Plains and Chihuahuan Desert, installing receiving stations along avian flyways to capture vital data and fill knowledge gaps.
Grassland bird populations are declining and the majority of species are understudied on their wintering grounds. In the winter of 2020, we implemented a regional monitoring program in the Chihuahuan Desert of Texas to establish baseline population estimates of grassland birds. We surveyed on a number of expansive cattle ranches, each exhibiting fascinating ecological and management histories. Through the implementation of this program, we can share that collaboration between ranching operations and grassland bird conservation is mutually beneficial.
The Sprague’s Pipit is a charismatic songbird of North American grasslands. If you’ve ever wandered the Northern Great Plains in summer, you’ve probably heard their sweet song, and maybe even seen their high-altitude aerial displays which can last for hours. One of many fast-declining grassland bird species, we’re urgently working to learn more about the life cycle of the Sprague’s Pipit so that its song can continue to be enjoyed for generations to come.
Nineteen Mennonite students from Cuauhtémoc recently joined us in the field and experienced a day in the life of bird biologists. Representing a vital piece of the conservation puzzle in Chihuahua, their visit opens new pathways for awareness, conversation and collaboration to help grassland birds on Mexico’s wintering grounds.
After several weeks of intensive nest searching and observation, Bird Conservancy of the Rockies has confirmed that Baird’s Sparrows are actively breeding at Soapstone Prairie Natural Area—the first time the species has been documented reproducing in the State of Colorado. This remarkable discovery marks an exciting milestone in an already-eventful 2018 summer field season.